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40 Acres Conservation League

Policy Details

Policy Type: Executive Order
Jurisdiction: Local — California
Status: Passed
Tags: Conservation & Biodiversity, JEDI, Land Justice, Public Health

Policy Summary

While this is a state policy, this policy profile will analyze how it was used at the local level, just outside of Sacramento.

In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20, which committed to conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 as part of a broader effort to fight climate change, protect biodiversity, and expand access to nature for all Californians.

The 40 Acre Conservation League, California’s sole Black-led conservation organization, has acquired 650 acres of land near Sacramento with a mission beyond preserving natural beauty. Led by Jade Stevens, President of 40 Acre Land Conservation League, the league aims to enhance outdoor accessibility for people of color, particularly Black individuals, who often feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in outdoor settings. Their efforts are supported by a $3 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board, part of California’s 30×30 initiative. The league plans to open the land for public use by summer 2024, fostering a culturally inclusive environment with diverse staff to ensure all visitors feel safe and welcomed in nature.


Does the policy solution re-distribute power from mainstream institutions to impacted Black community?   

Yes, by working with and giving land directly to the 40 Acre Land Conservation League, which seeks to bridge the urban rural divide that impacts Black communities. The League seeks to empower deeper, more diverse connections to the land and sustainable participation in the outdoor economy, uplifting conscientious land ownership and paving the way for sustainable stewardship.

Does this policy address needs impacting diverse groups within Black communities (Black femmes, Black LGBTQ+ communities, Black immigrants, people in poverty, differently abled, people impacted by justice system)? If so, how?  

While sufficient information was not found to make an accurate assessment, the likelihood is that the League’s program will impact diverse Black communities. Firstly, because the League focuses on large acreage (250+ acres) land acquisitions in proximity (within 150 miles) to urban areas. Choosing locations within an hour or two of major cities ensures that the conserved lands are accessible to urban Black populations, who may otherwise have limited opportunities to experience nature. This strategic choice directly counters the historical geographic barriers that have kept Black Americans from engaging with outdoor spaces. Furthermore, In the future, the league looks forward to providing workforce training opportunities for youth on their land in farming, forestry, conservation practices, and sustainability.

Does this policy provide more decision-making power at the hands of Black communities?  

Yes, with improved inclusivity and engagement processes, the 30×30 was able to make targeted investments that will have significant impacts, like it did with the League. Lead by Black staff, it give them the self-determination to make decisions on how to achieve their mission on closing the urban divide in Black communities.

Does the policy undermine extractive economies like capitalism and restore community power around a local and regenerative economy/ primary production?  

Yes, because it is a nonprofit organization that actively works to permanently protect land in its undeveloped, natural state, which prohibits its use to be extracted and exploited for profit.

Does the policy repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights, health and environmental protections? 

Yes, the league’s initiatives aim for sustainable, long-term benefits for Black communities by fostering a strong connection to nature, promoting mental and physical health, and enhancing overall quality of life.

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